Mihonoseki – Maritime transport has given Japan an enormous favour to develop its prosperity because the shape of the country consists of many islands. Japan’s lighthouses have played an important role in securing the lives of seamen engaged in the maritime industry since their introduction in the Meiji era.
Mihonoseki Lighthouse has shed light on off the coast from Cape Jizo in the northeast part of the Shimane Peninsula for more than 130 years. The lighthouse has helped ships navigate off Matsue regardless of their nationalities, and seamen from many countries have been saved. However, the lighthouse has never forgotten the tragedy which occurred in 1927.
On 24th August 1927, the Imperial Japanese Navy executed its massive military exercise off the Shimane peninsular to cope with its opponent across the Pacific. Despite the bad weather, the drill was normally continued. At that time, radar was not equipped with the Japanese warships, so the sailors’ eyesight was the only way to grasp the maritime situations.
“Hard a port and stop two(sides) and then a full astern”, the captain of IJNS Jintsu(5,595tons) yelled out an order to avoid collision with IJNS Warabi(850tons) to a quartermaster when he had found the consort destroyer in front of its course. Still, the manoeuvring by cruiser Jintsu missed the clash with Warabshi. The collision caused the destroyer to sink into the sea off the pharos with her 92 crew.
And one minute later, another cruiser IJNS Naka (5,595tons), following Jintsu, also collided with a destroyer IJNS Ashi(850tons ), causing ruins and losing of 27 crew.
This incident is the most tragic of maritime accidents near the lights house. While remembering the accident, the lighthouse has continued to throw light over the sea’s surface off the cape since the accident happened.
Mihonoseki lighthouse, now controlled by Japan Coast Guard, was built in 1898 by a French architect. The lighthouse is the oldest one in the San’in area(Shimane and Tottori) and was also selected to be one of the “hundred lighthouses in the world by the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities.
Her beautiful appearance and the scenery from the location of the lighthouse are so spectacular as to attract many visitors, even though the architecture exists in a remote rural area in Shimane.
25 minutes by car from Yonago AP
40 minutes by car from JR Matsue Station